Appointment of Professor Vincent Tropepe, Associate Vice-President, Research Oversight and Compliance and Extension of Professor Lorraine Ferris’ Second Term

From: Leah E. Cowen, Vice-President, Research and Innovation, and Strategic Initiatives  
Date: October 18, 2023 
Re: Appointment of Professor Vincent Tropepe, Associate Vice-President, Research Oversight and Compliance and Extension of Professor Lorraine Ferris’ Second Term

I am delighted to announce that the Executive Committee of the Governing Council has approved the appointment of Professor Vincent Tropepe to the position of Associate Vice-President, Research Oversight and Compliance for a five-year term, effective July 1, 2025 to June 30, 2030.

Also approved is the extension of Professor Lorraine Ferris’ appointment as Associate Vice-President, Research Oversight and Compliance to June 30, 2025.

The Associate Vice-President, Research Oversight and Compliance (AVP-ROC) provides academic leadership and manages the Research Oversight and Compliance Office (ROCO) that comprises human and animal research ethics, financial reporting and audit, and environmental health and safety. The AVP-ROC addresses the University’s institutional response to allegations of research misconduct and works with academic divisions around educational programs regarding research integrity and the responsible conduct of research.   

Professor Vincent Tropepe

After consulting with Vice-Presidents, Vice-Provosts and members of the Principals and Deans group, Professor Tropepe was clearly the ideal candidate for this role. He is the Vice-Dean Research and Infrastructure in the Faculty of Arts and Science and is a full Professor in the Department of Cell and Systems Biology with a cross-appointment to the Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine. He is responsible for supporting and enhancing the research mission of the Faculty including providing support for research funding, infrastructure planning, managing the Faculty’s Canada Research Chairs, facilitating commercialization opportunities and industry research partnerships.

Professor Tropepe completed his PhD at the University of Toronto and postdoctoral research at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at MIT in Cambridge MA. His research focuses on the molecular and cellular underpinnings of nerve cell production (neurogenesis) in the vertebrate brain and retina, a critical biological process for development, plasticity and regeneration in the nervous system. He has been sought for his expertise as a grant reviewer for international agencies across Europe, the U.S., and Canada, and holds four patents in the U.S. and Canada for primitive neural stem cells and retinal stem cells.

Professor Tropepe is a member of the Collaborative Graduate Programs in Developmental Biology and Neuroscience at U of T, a member of the Vision Science Research Program at U of T, a scientist of the Ontario Institute for Regenerative Medicine and a principal investigator of the Canadian Stem Cell Network. He has contributed to advancing evidence-based research policy development in the areas of biosafety and the use of genetically modified research organisms in academia with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and Environment and Climate Change Canada. 

Professor Tropepe will serve in his current role through to March 31, 2024, at which time he will take one year of administrative leave.  He will then join VPRI as the Vice-Presidential Advisor, Research Oversight and Compliance for the period of April 1, 2025 to June 30, 2025. During this period, he will receive leadership and training advice from Professor Ferris on matters relevant to his future role.

Professor Lorraine Ferris

Since joining VPRI in 2013, Professor Ferris has demonstrated exceptional leadership at managing the increasing and complex external requirements. Under Professor Ferris’ leadership, the practices within ROCO continue to be seen by regulatory agencies as standards that other institutions across Canada should aspire to.  

I am deeply appreciative that Professor Ferris is willing to continue as a key advisor to the Division of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation to fulfill the mandate of supporting a world class research institution and for her commitment to a smooth transition.

I look forward to Professor Tropepe joining the VPRI executive team in 2025. Please join me in congratulating both Professor Tropepe and Professor Ferris on their appointments.